Artists, Designers Make Over British ‘Telephone Boxes’

London calling. From left, BT Artboxes by Gerry Judah, Rob and Nick Carter, sculptor duo the DnA Factory, and, below, Benjamin Shine. (Courtesy BT)

When it comes to classics of British design, few objects rival Giles Gilbert Scott’s telephone kiosk. Immortalized in forms ranging from a popular series of UK postage stamps to an America’s Next Top Model photo shoot, the red telephone box known as the K6—whipped up by Scott in 1935 to commemorate King George V‘s Silver Jubilee—has been reimagined in whimsical full-size replicas that are scattered about London through July 18. Peter Blake, Zaha Hadid, Philip Treacy, Nina Campbell, and some 70 others artists and designers were up to the task of creating “ArtBoxes” for the project, sponsored by BT to raise money for ChildLine. Some interesting themes emerged: fashion designer Julien Macdonald and singer-songwriter MM both opted to cover their boxes in butterflies, while Ian Ritchie and coin-loving Jane Morgan went straight for the copper. Zandra Rhodes had something more precious in mind and ended up with a “Fantastic Golden Wiggle Pagoda.” Bert Gilbert transformed her phone box into a white padded cell, and Benjamin Shine‘s similarly buttoned-up approach (pictured) invites would-be callers to sit a spell on a red Chesterfield. Think one of these would look smashing in your living room? The ArtBoxes will hit the block later this month through a partnership between eBay and Sotheby’s.